Plans > This page
For Your Business Plan
Alto Software, Inc.
A common problem
people encounter when writing their business plan is finding information
about their business industry and competitive companies. Fortunately,
in recent years the Internet has made information gathering simple and
easy, but sometimes the best information is found much closer to home,
with real people, in real time.
Always take a look
at other businesses similar to your own, as a very good first step. If
you're looking at starting a new business, you may well be starting one
similar to one you already know. If you're doing a plan for an existing
business, you are even more likely to know the business well. Even so,
you can still learn a lot by looking at other similar businesses.
- Look at existing,
If you are
planning a retail shoe store, for example, spend some time looking at
existing retail shoe store businesses. Park across the street and count
the customers that go into the store. Note how long they stay inside,
and how many come out with boxes that look like purchased shoes. You
can probably even count how many pairs of shoes each customer buys.
Browse the store and look at prices. Look at several stores, including
the discount shoe stores and department store shoe departments.
- Find a similar
business in another place
Find a similar
business far enough away that you won't compete. For the shoe store
example, you would identify shoe stores in similar towns in other states.
Call the owner, explain your purpose truthfully, and ask about the business.
- Scan local newspapers
for people selling a similar business
broker and ask for as much information as possible. If you are thinking
of creating a shoe store and you find one for sale, you should consider
yourself a prospective buyer. Maybe buying the existing store is the
best thing. Even if you don't buy, the information you gain will be
very valuable. Why is the owner selling? Is there something wrong with
the business? You can probably get detailed financial information.
- Always shop
in the restaurant business, patronize your competition once a month,
rotating through different restaurants. If you own a shoe store, shop
your competition once a month, and visit different stores.
It takes a little
hard work but by using the Internet and doing some research at local businesses,
you should be able to gather all the information necessary for your business
Business Plan Basics
Business Plan Maintenance
Business Plan Mistakes
Design Your Plan to Fit Your Business
Do I need a business plan?
The Essential Contents of a Marketing
Public Relations Marketing
Business Plan Software